The Naked Truth: How to Uncover an Insecure Leader

If you’ve ever worked with an insecure leader, you understand the problem of insecurity–and the damage it can do.

The trick is to discover and intercept the warning signs of insecurity within yourself. It’s a necessary effort because, no matter how you think you are perceived on the outside, insecurity always shows.

Do any of these signs sound familiar…

1. Shying away from challenges:

When you’re insecure, you don’t like to take risks because you lack confidence in your ability to succeed. You do not share information freely because you know communication is a form of empowerment. You may be defensive toward new challenges and not very communicative overall.

2. Positioning yourself to look good:

If you’re more concerned about how you look than how your people are doing, about your own passion rather than how your team is functioning, about how you are presented rather than how well the mission is being met, you are not being a leader. And the most likely cause is insecurity.

3. Aversion to helping others grow:

Insecure leaders see people as working for them, not with them. They feel jealous when someone on their team receives public affirmation, and they are not mentioned. When you invest in the growth of those around you, you are equipping them to be better, smarter, and quicker–a threatening idea to the insecure.

4. Disrespect for others:

When you’re insecure, you work hard to gain respect for yourself–sometimes even by belittling others to put yourself ahead. If you feel inadequate, disrespecting others can help elevate your own status.

5. Being a know-it-all:

Insecure leaders are petrified of coming across as insignificant or incompetent, so they overcompensate by pretending they know it all. They rarely ask questions–and when they do, they almost never wait for the answer.

6. Staying behind a closed door:

If you tend to keep a safe distance from your employees, constituents, clients, or followers, you may be harboring a fear that your own inadequacies will be discovered. The same impulse may lead you to be highly controlling about personal information.

7. Refusing to handle conflicts:

Insecure leaders are driven by wanting to be liked. They want everyone think well of them–all the time. They often refuse to handle conflicts and they shy away from delicate issues out of fear that those on one side or the other will no longer like them.

Insecure leaders may mean well, but they shackle and constrain their people and themselves.

Giving in to insecurity is really another way of putting yourself first–an idea that goes against the heart of leadership.

We all have tendencies toward insecurity from time to time. But making sure you don’t give in to damaging behavior born of insecurity will make you a far better leader, boss, and person.


N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R


What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

buy now

Additional Reading you might enjoy:


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

No comments.

Leave a Reply